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How to Dress for Tennis

Like most sports, there are specific clothes that are to be worn when playing tennis. For example, American Football is heavily focused on protected the head and shoulders and other sports such as soccer are more likely to have injuries to the lower leg and therefore wear shinpads. The game of tennis is not a contact sport so you are not required to wear protective clothing but there are other reasons behind dress choice in tennis.

If you are just playing at an amateur level then there is less focus on what you are wearing but certain outfits and accessories will enable you to move around the court more freely, prevent the sun from going in your eyes or provide a place to store tennis balls when you are serving.

Tennis is a game that has long been played with court conduct and etiquette as a priority, as in fitting with its reference as a ‘gentlemen’s game’. So many tennis clubs exercise a strict dress code that must be adhered to. For example, some clubs request that players wear predominantly white or cream clothing despite this not being a rule at some major tennis tournaments. Andre Agassi is a prime example of a player who moved away from the traditional white tennis outfit to bring colourful style to the court. Wimbledon’s dress code is stricter than most tournaments, as the club is keen to stay true to the traditional heritage and values it is famous for.


Your choice of footwear can be very important, as it will influence how quickly you can run around court and change direction. There is also quite a bit of impact in your lower joints so having footwear that will protect your joints is always a good idea. So wearing shoes that do not have cushioning may cause more injury problems.

You also want to look for trainers that give good traction on court. Pro tennis players will often have different types of trainers depending on the surface that they are playing on. Overall, the most important part of choosing tennis shoes is how comfortable they are when you are playing tennis. Wimbledon’s dress code states that ‘shoes must be almost entirely white, including the soles’.

Headwear/accessories –

Headwear such as a visor or baseball style cap are allowed in tennis and are used to keep the sun from going into a player’s eyes. Again, depending on where you are playing there may be a stricter dress code that requires such garments to be mostly white in colour. It is always a good idea to keep a visor or cap in your tennis bag in case the sun comes out and is affecting the way that you play. Headbands are useful for stopping sweat from getting into your eyes, so on warm days these are more necessary than others. The same goes for wristbands, which can be worn to wipe sweat from your forehead to stop it from going into your eyes. Wimbledon requests that players wear white headwear and wristbands.

Socks –

Tennis socks are quite different to general day socks as they are thicker and are pulled up above the ankle. Women’s tennis socks tend to be designed shorter than men’s.

Ladies’ outfits – Dress/shorts/skirt –

Women have the choice between wearing a tennis dress or shorts/skirt and top. Many women wear skorts these days, a combination between shorts and a skirt that offer a bit more cover than a skirt. Vest tops or dresses are commonly worn as well.

Men’s outfits –

It is traditional for men to wear shirts with a collar and short sleeves but the outfits have evolved over the years. You will probably have seen the likes of Nadal playing in tight fitted vest tops with no sleeves. This style is particularly favoured when playing outdoors in the heat. Shorts will usually be quite loose fitting with pockets to hold balls during service. Again, tennis clubs and more traditional courts will expect a more reserved, traditional dress code and expect you to be dressed predominantly in white.